Community Update: DABC's Response to 2024 Federal Budget

April 16th, 2024

Today, the federal government released Budget 2024. Included in the Budget is new information about the Canada Disability Benefit Act (CDB), which received Royal Assent on June 22nd, 2023, but has yet to come into force.

Budget 2024 reveals the following updates about the CDB:

  • The CDB will likely provide a maximum of $2,400 per year to eligible Canadians with disabilities.
  • Only people with disabilities, ages 18-64, who live on low incomes and have been found eligible for the Disability Tax Credit (DTC) will be eligible for the CDB.
  • Eligible Canadians will likely begin receiving CDB payments as of July 2025.
  • The federal government will provide $243 million over six years, beginning in 2024-25, and $41 million per year ongoing, to cover the cost of the medical forms required to apply for the Disability Tax Credit, to expand access to the DTC and therefore the CDB.
  • The federal government is calling on provinces and territories to ensure that CDB payments are not clawed back from provincial or territorial income/disability supports.

While DABC is happy to see a timeline for the enactment of the Canada Disability Benefit and the government’s recommendation against clawbacks, we are extremely disappointed to learn about the Disability Tax Credit eligibility requirement and the proposed $2,400/year cap. It can be very difficult for people with disabilities to be approved for the DTC due to its strict eligibility requirements, and $2,400/year is woefully inadequate; it will not lift most people with disabilities who are eligible for the CDB out of poverty.

DABC will continue to provide feedback to the government on the development of the Canada Disability Benefit.

In more positive news for Canadians with disabilities, “Budget 2024 announces the government’s intention to amend the Income Tax Act to make additional expenses eligible for the Disability Supports Deduction, subject to certain conditions, such as:

  • service animals trained to perform specific tasks for people with certain severe impairments;
  • alternative computer input devices, such as assistive keyboards, braille display, digital pens, and speech recognition devices;
  • and, ­ergonomic work chairs and bed positioning devices, including related assessments.”

Read the full Budget plan here:

DABC Follows Up with Minister Malcolmson On Her Interview with the Tyee

DABC’s response to the information linked below:

Since the Tyee article linked above came out yesterday, DABC has seen reactions from members of the disability community on social media channels. Secure and stable income is vitally important to everyone, but especially so for low income people with disabilities that rely on disability assistance. For years now, the disability community has been waiting for the Canada Disability Benefit (CDB), to seek clarity on what the Benefit will look like and how it will be rolled out. We are still waiting.  

So, when an article such as this comes out questioning whether the BC Government will claw back PWD income from the CDB, it rightly strikes a strong reaction of fear and anger for those who depend on PWD income for their livelihood and well-being.

Yesterday, DABC and other advocacy groups met with Minister Malcolmson during a luncheon organized by Disability Without Poverty BC. DABC and others had an opportunity to question Minister Malcolmson on the Tyee article. Minister Malcolmson said to us that she felt her interview with the Tyee was taken out of context and that the BC Government can’t officially declare a decision on the treatment of CDB income until the Federal Government shares with the provinces what the CDB will look like. Additionally, she said that the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction (SDPR)’s approach to the treatment of CDB income will likely be in the same spirit to how SDPR treated income from the Canada Emergency Relief Benefit (it did not claw back PWD income).

DABC also heard from Minister Malcolmson in 2023, when she stated verbally during a community stakeholder meeting that the Province does not intend to claw back CDB payments from PWD income. DABC will continue to hold Minister Malcomson and the BC Government to account on this, to ensure that when the Canada Disability Benefit is rolled out into the bank accounts of people with disabilities, it does not claw back PWD income.

We also call upon the BC Government to take a more active role on the federal level in being kept up to date on new developments around the design and implementation of the CDB. There are approximately 200,000 people in our province on PWD, and they deserve a Ministry that is proactive, transparent and communicative on this incredibly important issue that has a great potential to increase their income and overall quality of life.

DABC Community Update: Bill C-22 Receives Royal Assent

On June 20th, 2023 Bill C-22 was passed by the Senate! The Bill proposes to create a federal income supplement for low-income, working-age people with disabilities, modelled after the Guaranteed Income Supplement. As of June 22nd, Bill C-22 has now received Royal Assent and becomes law by “written declaration” by the Governor General.

We applaud everyone—from the disability community (individuals and organizations) to those in Government—who tirelessly advocated for the passage of this Bill.

Prior to its passing of the Bill, the Senate had recommended 4 amendments[1], and the Bill was sent back to the House of Commons for re-consideration. The House approved 3 of the 4 amendments. The amendment the House rejected would have protected the Benefit from potential private insurance claw backs; the reason given for the rejection was due to “concerns over provincial jurisdiction over the regulation of the insurance industry.”[2] DABC has concerns over the omission of this amendment and will continue to advocate for a Canada Disability Benefit that safeguards against any clawbacks to a disabled person’s income.

We know that this work isn’t done. There is a 12 month deadline to develop the new Act’s regulations. DABC looks forward to working collaboratively to help develop these regulations over the next months. We will continue to provide updates through social media, email and our newsletter when possible.